WEST NEWBURY — Roughly a week before facing off in their first debate, the two candidates for the Second Essex District representative seat explained their positions on taxes, jobs and regulation while also laying out their vision of what a healthy economy would look like.
Democrat Barry Fogel and Republican Lenny Mirra, who will be facing off in November’s general election for the seat held by Rep. Harriett Stanley, differ greatly on matters of job creation and regulation, but do share similar views on taxes. Both believe the state sales tax should be reduced to 5 percent, and each favors reducing the state income tax as well.
The two candidates will likely try to draw further distinctions between each other at the upcoming debates later this month.
The first debate will be held in Boxford on Thursday; the second will be a Meet the Candidates-style event at the Haverhill Public Library on Oct. 15 and the third will be jointly held by Georgetown and Groveland at the Georgetown Town Hall on Oct. 18. All three debates will be held at 7 p.m.
The Boxford and Georgetown/Groveland debates will be sponsored by each respective town’s Democratic and Republican committees, while the Greater Haverhill League of Women Voters will put on the Haverhill event.
A fourth debate to be held jointly by West Newbury and Newbury later this month is also in the works, Fogel said, but no plans have been finalized.
The Second Essex District includes Newbury, West Newbury, Merrimac, Georgetown, Groveland and parts of Haverhill and Boxford.
As far as government regulation goes, Fogel said he opposes unreasonable and overly burdensome regulation, but is a strong advocate for fair regulation with reasonable implementation of the rules. Mirra believes there is too much regulation and that the sheer amount of bureaucracy hurts small businesses.